May 23, 2019

Pages 1326-1329
Whole Number 70


In the Quarterly for September 1967 (Vol. XV, No. 3, Whole No. 59) we began a series of abstracts of pension applications by Civil War soldiers and their heirs which are on file in the National Archives in Washington, D.C. We resume this series here.

M.1.1 ALBERT T. SPARKS, born in Iowa December 20, 1847, died in Iowa March 31, 1871, son of M.1 David T. and Susan E. (Walker) Sparks. Served in the 9th Battery of Indiana Artillery. File designation: 436,559.

On December 8, 1890, Susan E. Thomas appeared before the Deputy Clerk of the Dist. Court in Boone County, Iowa, to make application for a Civil War pension on the basis of the service of her son, Albert T. Sparks, under an Act of Congress dated June 27, 1890. She stated that she was 63 years old, a resident of Boone, Iowa, and was the mother of Albert T. Sparks (by her first husband) who had enlisted for service in the Union Army in Putnam County, Indiana, on January 16, 1864, in Capt. George R. Brown's 9th Battery of Indiana Artillery. She stated that her son, Albert T. Sparks, had died on March 31, 1871, at Boonsboro, Iowa "from the effects of Chronic Diarrhea & its results incurred in the service of the United States in the line of duty." She appointed W. D. Templin as her attorney and Martha Feisy (spelling uncertain) and J. P. Patterson signed as witnesses. She signed her name as Susan E. Thomas.

With her application, Susan Thomas submitted the following affidavit:

"State of Iowa! SS
 Boone County /

     "I, John S. Freidley, Clerk of the District Court within and for the said county do certify that Mrs. Susan E. Thomas of said county presented to me a book which perports to be her family record and from the appearance of the same, I believe to be such and that the entries therein contained appears to be made about the time of the dates of therein as follows:

Albert T. Sparks born December 20th 1847
Albert T. Sparks died March 31st 1871
David T. Sparks and Susan E. Walker married October 14th 1846
David T. Sparks died September 3rd 1852 (Father)
Shelawen Thomas died May 13th 1875
      "In testimony whereof witness my hand and seal affixed at my office in Boone, Iowa, this December 8th A.D. 1890.
John S. Friedley
Clerk Dist. Court."

On December 1, 1891, Susan E. Thomas made an additional affidavit as follows:
"That she is the claiment as above and that her income is as follows, of 95 acres of farm land in Boone Co. Iowa which is about $200 a year and out of this amount she pays her taxes and the repairs in keeping up the land with the improvements amounting to $100 per year leaving her income one hundred dollars a year and that her age and condition of her health prevent her from performing manual labor and that this amount is not sufficient to render her a support. She cannot prove his death or birth other than by the family record, a copy of which is on file and that there was no widow or child at his death, that he died from disease of the lungs on the 31st day of March 1871."

Also contained in this file is a brief statement from the War Department that Albert T. Sparks had served as a private in the 9th Battery of the Indiana Artillery. From the records obtained from the National Archives, it is not clear whether Susan was successful in her application or not.

Editor's Note: We are not able, at this time, to tie this family to other branches of the Sparks family. From the family record by Mrs. Thomas with her application, we know that her maiden name was Susan E. Walker and that she and David T. Sparks were married on October 14, 1846. We have a census record dated September 14, 1850, which proves that David T. Sparks and his wife were living in Rochester Township, Cedar County, Iowa, at that time. David's age was given as 28, thus he was born ca. 1822; Susan's age was given as 22, thus she was born ca. 1828. Both were natives of Indiana according to the census record, and David was a farmer, Their son, Albert T. Sparks, was listed as 2 years old, born in Iowa. They also had another son, M.1.2 Aquilla J. Sparks, who was listed as one month old, thus he was born in July or August, 1850.

Living very near David T. Sparks in 1850 was the family of William Sparks, aged 23, born Indiana, and Lucinda Sparks, aged 17, also born in Indiana. Perhaps David and William were brothers.

David Sparks died, according to Susan 's family record, on September 3, 1852. Susan apparently married as her second husband, Shelawen Thomas, who died on May 13, 1875. ALBERTUS SPARKS, son of Amos and Desire (Sylvester) Sparks, born Cortland County, New York, November 10, 1839; lived in Oceana Co., Michigan; died in Atlanta, Georgia, on January 2, 1915. Married Sarah H. Rathbone June 7, 1866. Served in Co. I, 3rd Michigan Regiment and Co. M, 10th Regt. of Michigan Cavalry.. File designation XC 2 690,087.

On June 1, 1912, Albertus Sparks appeared before a notary public named Arthur Converse to make application for a pension. He stated that he was 72 years old, a resident of Ferry, Oceana County, Michigan, and that he had enrolled at Grand Rapids, Michigan, on May 13, 1861, as a private in Co. I of the Third Regiment of Michigan Infantry. He stated that he had been discharged at Alexandria, Va., on October 30, 1862. He stated that he had enrolled again on February 22, 1865, in Company H, 10th Regiment of Michigan Cavalry and was discharged on September 30, 1865, at Chattanooga, Tennessee. He described himself at the time of his service as 6 feet tall, with light complexion, blue eyes, light colored hair, and by occupation a mechanic. He stated he had been born November 10, 1839, at Cortland, Cortland County,New York, and that he had lived in Ferry, Michigan, from the time of his discharge. He also stated that he was already receiving a pension, but that he now wished to apply again under provisions of the new act passed May 11, 1912. We do not have a copy of his first application, but apparently that was submitted in 1877. There is a document from the Adjutant General's Office dated November 214, 1877, certifying his service in 1861 and that he had seen action at Bull Run, Virginia, on July 21, 1861, and was discharged because of disability on October 20, 1861.

The certificate of disability for discharge for Albertus Sparks is in the file and contains the statement: "Said Albertus Sparks has done but little duty since enlisted and has done no duty since the Battle of Bull Run July 21st 1861. Said Sparks has complained of Rheumatism ever since that time and been wholly unfit for duty." Also contained in this file is the certificate of discharge of Albertus Sparks following his service in 1865. A search of War Department records in 1915 revealed that during his second enlistment he had received medical treatment between August 1 and August 14, 1865, for "Retention urine" and from August 3 to September 30, 1865, for "Billious fever." He was discharged on September 30.

Albertus Sparks was granted a pension following his application in 1877, amount not stated in available records. On January 15, 1898, he was asked to provide information regarding his family. He stated that he had been married to Sarah H. Rathbone at Ferry, Michigan, on June 7, 1866, and that he had the following living children: Albertus Sparks, Jr. born April 27, 1867 Jennett Sparks born September 10, 1868 Lillie Sparks born July 14, 1870 Alpha H. Sparks born November 11, 1872 Lizzie H. Sparks born 5 February 1882 Minnie D. Sparks born June 8, 1884 Charley B. Sparks born May 7, 1886 Tilla (?) H. Sparks born August 15, 1890 Mildred S. Sparks born June 5, 1895

Albertus Sparks died from "senility" on January 2, 1915, in Atlanta, Georgia, where he and his wife had apparently moved. According to his death certificate, he had been born November 10, 1839, in Cortland, New York, and was a son of Amos Sparks and Desire Sylvester.

On February 13, 1915, the widow of Albertus Sparks, Sarah H. Sparks, applied for a widow's pension. She gave her residence as 140 Atlanta Ave., Atlanta, Georgia, and Mary Gill and Buel Gill signed as her witnesses. She supplied a certified copy of her marriage certificate stating that Albertus Sparks, of Grand Haven, Michigan, being about 25 years of age, and Sarah Rathbone of Otto, Michigan, being about 17 years of age, had been united in marriage on June 7, 1866, in Otto, Michigan, by Daniel N. Gustin, Justice of the Peace, in the presence of C. P. Rathbone and M. H. Gustin. Sarah H. Sparks also wrote the following letter to accompany her application:

140 Atlanta Ave., Atlanta, Ga.
March 15, 1915.

G. M. Saltzgaber, Corn. of Pensions. Washington, D.C.

Dear Sir:

I hereby certify that the following facts are true to the best of my knowledge:

     I married Albertus Sparks, on June 7th, 1866, at my Mothers Horns, in Ferry Township, Oceana Co., Michigan, and have lived with him from that time, until his Death here January 3rd, 1915. Those present at my wedding were the following, including Mother, Sister and Brothers:
    C. P. Rathbone, now living in Montague, Mich.,
    LeGrand Rathbone, now living at Grand Rapids, Mich. on 5th Ave.,
    P. R. Rathbone, now living at Shelby, Mich.,
    Mrs. Julia McClure, now living at Lansing, Mich.

My Mother being dead, I am writing these Brothers and Sister, for their affidavits to the Ceremony.

     In regard to the two who have known my Husband all his life, will get the affidavits of Mr. Wm. S. Fleming, of Montgomery, and will try and get one from ---(blank)---, Muskegon, Mich., if he is still living. I can think of no others living that I can locate.

     The same two people last mentioned above, know that we have always lived together from the time of our marriage, also that he was never married before.
     As to the Physicians Certificate of Death, it has been furnished.
     In regard to those who were present at this Death, they were as follows: Tillie Sparks, Mildred Sparks, C. B. Sparks, Della Sparks and myself Sarah H. Sparks, and their statements will be made, and sworn to, as soon as possible.
    I trust there will be no great amount of delay, as my Husbands death has plunged us into debt, and that the Marriage Certificate, as well as the Pension Papers, also his discharge of the 10th, Mich, Cavalry, will be returned to me promptly.
Respectfully yours, (Signed) Sarah H. Sparks
Witness: B. F. Archer, Hart, Mich.

Sarah H. Sparks was granted a pension, amount not revealed in the papers supplied by the National Archives. She died in St, Petersburg, Florida, on August 11, 1939, aged 90 years, 9 months, and 8 days. According to her death certificate, she was born in Ashtabula, Ohio, on November 3, 1848, a daughter of Jerome Rathbone, who was born in PA, and Alveria Fulsom, also born in PA. She was buried in the Royal Palm Cemetery in St. Petersburg.

(Editor's Note: Albertus Sparks, born November 10, 1839, died January 2, 1915, was a son of Amos and Desire (Sylvester) Sparks. Amos Sparks, his father, was born on September 214, 1792 (sic), and was a son of Isaiah and Felisity (Dawset) Sparks of Ashford, Connecticut. Isaiah Sparks, father of Amos, died on December 7, 1794, and his widow, Felisity, had moved her family shortly thereafter to Cortland County, New York, where the sons married and reared their families. Amos Sparks married Desire Sylvester in New York and they had at least three sons. by 1850, Amos had moved his family to Crockery Township, Ottawa County, Michigan. When the census was taken that year., he was listed as a farmer. His three sons were listed as: Orville A. Sparks (age 21) born ca. 1829 Melvin P. Sparks (aged 17) born ca. 1833 Albertus Sparks (aged 11) born November 10, 1839

Living with Amos Sparks in 1850 was Lydia Sylvester, aged 60 years, a native of Massachusetts. Perhaps she was the mother of Desire (Sylvester) Sparks, wife of Amos. Amos and Desire Sparks were still living in Ottawa County when the 1860 census was taken. A brother of Amos, Stephen Sparks, settled in lonia County, Michigan, in 18140. (See the Quarterly of September 1965, Vol. XIII, No. 3, Whole No, 51, pp. 916-23.) Another brother of Amos, Erastus Sparks, settled in Trumbull County, Ohio. The parents of Isaiah Sparks (and thus the great-grandparents of Albertus Sparks) were 43.2.5 Joseph Sparks and Mehetabel Johnson who were married in Windham, Connecticut, on April 29, 1747.)